Abjiciamus opera (Advent)Attendite a falsis (3 Sun after Peter & Paul)
Ecce Rex tuus venit (Advent)Emitte spiritum (Pentecost)
Exiit qui seminat (Sexagesima)Homo quidam fecit cenam (2 Sun P.Oct.Trin)
Inveni David (St. Nicholas)Lauda et laetare (Advent)
Osanna Filio David (Advent)Puer Jesus (1 Sun PE)
Seraphim stabant (Trinity)Veniet desideratus (1 Sun Advent)
Beata gens (All Saints)Beati qui habitant (All Saints)
Beatus vir (St. Martin)Coelum et terra (Advent)
Ecce ego (St. LukeGerminet terra (Birth of Mary)
Homo quidam erat dives (9 Sun P.Oct.Trin)Lux orta (Birth of Mary)

Sermon "Inveni David"
on the Feast of Saint Nicholas

St. Thomas Aquinas

Translated by Athanasius Sulavik
See Angelicum 82 (2005), 19-53, for full article with introduction and notes.

I have discovered David my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him; my hand will help him, and my a m will strengthen him (Ps. 88:21-22). The wonders of God are inscrutable to man, hence Job (5:9): He does wondrous things and unsearchable. Among these are the wonders God accomplishes in His saints, about which Augustine says: It is a greater thing to justify man than to create him, since creation passes away but justification endures. Hence, God is wonderfu1 in His saints (Ps 67:36). We are not able to scrutinize these wonders that God accomplishes in his saints unless He who searches the mind and heart should instruct us. Let us, therefore hasten back to Him through prayer and ask him at the outset to grant me something to say, etc. I have discovered David my servant, etc. From these words we are able to learn four commendable things about this holy bishop: first, his wondrous election; second his singular consecration; third, his effective execution of office; and fourth, his unshakable and steadfast stability. His wondrous election is pointed out in these words: I have discovered David my servant; his particular consecration is pointed outin these words: with my holy oil I have anointed him; his effective execution of office is pointed out in these words: for my hand shall help him; and his abiding steadfastness is pointed out in these words: and my arm shall strengthen him.

[His wondrous election]

Let us then look at what it [the text] says: I have discovered David my servant; and here we can consider four ways of understanding a discovery. A discovery implies rarity, investigation, disclosure, and conviction from experience.

First, I say that a discovery implies rarity, because rare things are said to be discovered. It would be laughable to say: “I discovered people on the Little Bridge.” But what is rare is said to be discovered, as we see in Proverbs (31:10) where it is asked: Who shall discover a strong woman? As if to say, only with difficdulty is a strong woman to be found because a woman is naturally delicate and frail.

Secondly, things sought for are said to be discovered, as it says in Proverbs (2:4): If you will seek for it as [other men seek for] money, you will find it, namely divine knowledge. Moreover, the Gospel speaks about a woman searching for a lost coin, until she finds it (Lk 15:8).

Thirdly, a discovery implies disclosure, as we read in the Gospel: The kingdom of heaven is like the head of a household searching for a treasure hidden in a field; when he finds it, he goes and sells all that he has etc. (Mt 13:44). When a treasure is brought forth from the earth and shown to others, then it is saqid to have been discovered.

Fourthly, a discovery implies conviction from experience. When a person doubts something and afterwards comes to know it with certainty, he declares: “I have discovered this to be so.” And in just this way Solomon declares: I have discovered that a woman is more bitter than death (Eccles. 7:22).

The Lord discovered blessed Nicholas in these ways.

First, he discovered in him something very rare, namely, virtue in the prime of his youth, which is rare among youths; hence it says in Proverbs: Youth and pleasure are vain. This is a rara avis, namely, that as a youth he was not subject to vanity; and because blessed Nicholas preserved his holiness from childhood, he is said to have been discovered. For he himself "while still a little boy used to afflict his body with much fasting." I Also the saying in Hosea (9:10) [comes to mind]: I discovered Israel like grapes in the desert, I discovered the sons of Israel as first fruits of the fig tree. The fig ripens later than other fruits, but if it ripens in prime season it is said to be "disovered." Likew ise, children who preserve their holiness from childhood are called the first fruits of a fig tree and are said to be discovered, and this is pleasing to God; thus in Micah [we read] (7:l): My soul desired the first ripe figs. Fish and fruit in season are very much desired; so, too, very desirable to God is the man who carries the Lord's yoke from his, youth, as is said in Lamentations (3:27): It will be good for a man, when he has borne the Lord's yoke from his youth, because a young man shall walk according to his way, even when he is old he will not depart from it (Prov. 22:6). At the same time, if such as these should depart from the path of holiness, they return to it more easily. Secondly, the Lord discovers in blessed Nicholas what He seeks. And what does the Lord seek? Surely, He seeks a faithful soul, hence [we read] in John (4:24): God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. And why does God seek out the man with a faithful soul? I say: whoever takes delight in dwelling with another person seeks out that person. So it is with God, because it gives Him delight to dwell with a faithful soul. Hence He says: My delighs are to be with the children of men (Prov 8:31). And God discovered in blessed Nicholas a faithful soul, because he was frequently in church faithfully at his prayers; so, what is said in Hosea (12:4) is suitably said of him: He wept and made supplication to Him, and He discovered him in Bethel. Bethel means “the house of God.” Notice how rightly it is said that He discovered David, for david possessed great virtues from his youth: he slew a bear and a lion, he was preferred over all his brothers, and he was also most devout. The Psalmist says: As with the marrow and fat, that is, of devotion, let my soul be filled (Ps 62:6); and Sirach (47:1): As the fat taken away from the flesh, thus was David separated from among he children of Israel. And blessed Nicholas was eminently holy.

Thirdly, the Lord discovered in blessed Nicholas something outstanding, namely a pious affection. What makes a person stand out? I say that nothing makes a person so outstanding as piety and a ready will to do good for others. God is hidden in Himself, yet He is revealed to us through the benefits He grants. So, in Sirac it is said about those who show pity toward others: These were men of mercy, whose pious deeds have not failed (44:10), and the church declares their praise (44:15). And in another place it says: The lips of many will praise him who gives freely of his bread (Sir 31:28). Blessed Nicholas was especially “sympathizing with and showing pity from his heart toward the afflicted, and indeed having given them gold, he relieved the poverty of virgins. Thus, what Hosea (14:9) says can be applied to him: From me is his fruit discovered. And this is why the Lord says rightly: I discovered David, my servant. A servant is one who carried out his lord’s work; and the principal work of the Lord is mercy, as the Psalmist says: And His tender mercies are over all His works (Ps 144:9). Therefore, the Lord’s servant is the one who exercises mercy toward the poor. As the Apostle says: We are servants for Jesus’ sake (2 Cor 4:5).

Fourthly, the Lord discovered in blessed Nicholas something tested by experience, namely faithfulness, which is greatly sought after; thus te Apostle says: Now what is sought after in stewards, except that a man be found faithful? (1 Cor 4:2); and the Book of Wisdom (3:5) says: He tested them, and found them worthy of Himself. A faithful man must be a servant, so that he refers all that is his to God. You pray, you perform works of mercy, whatever kind of good you do, it is necessary that you should refer it to God. Hence it is said: He has been tested in this, and was found perfect (Sir 31:10). Blessed Nicholas is such a man, and for that reason he is called my servant (Ps 88:21). Many people, on the other hand, do not serve the Lord but themselves; as the Apostle puts it: They that are such serve not Christ but their own belly (Rom 16:18). If you are doing good in order to get prebends, you are serving yourself, not God.

A good bishop ought not be like these sorts of people, but rather he ought to be upright [innocens] in his own person, devout before God, merciful to his neighbor, faithful in all things in respect to everyone.

[His singular consecration]

We move on now to his consecration, which is indicated by these words: with my Holy oil I have anointed him (Ps 88:21). It should be noted that the consecration of bishops and of certain others is done with oil; there is hardly and consecration for which we do not use oil. To show the power of oil, note that we use it for four reasons: namely, to heal a wound, to fuel light, to give flavor to food, and to soften.

First, I say that we use oil to heal. Thus in Isaiah we read (1:6) Bruises and sores and bleeding wounds are not bound up, nor dressed nor softened with oil.

Secondly, we use oil to fuel light, hence in Exodus (25:6) a precept was given to the sons of Israel that they offer oil for making ready he lamps.

Thirdly, we use oil to give flavor to food, therefore we read that King Solomon sent Hiram oil as foot.

Fourthly, we use oil to soften, thus it is said: His words are smoother than oil (Ps 54:22).

First, I say that we use oil to heal a wound, through which [image] we understand healing grace. Thus we read in Luke (10:34) that the Samaritan who wanted to take care of a wounded man poured [on his wounds] wine and oil. And since blessed Nicholas was anointed with the oil of healing grace, because he had full soundness of [spiritual] health and was equipped to anoint others, we are told that wine and oil were poured─that is to say, the wine of stern correction and the oil of mercy and comfort.

Secondly, we use oil to prepare lamps, and this signifies the studious quest for wisdom. It is said about this oil: Let not oil be lacking from your head (Eccles 9:8), and in Zechariah (4:14): These are two sons of glistening oil. Since oil functions a fuel for light, therefore the prophets were anointed with oil.

Thirdly, we use oil to give flavor to food, and this signifies spiritual joy. Just as seasonings make food tasty, so also spiritual joy makes good works easy. When we are sad, even a small task seems difficult; but when we are joyful, even a difficult task seems easy. So, we find in the Psalms: That He may make your face cheerful with oil (Ps 103:15). God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your companions (Ps 44:8). And in Isaiah (61:3): The oil of joy, in place of mourning. Therefore priests are anointed with oil, that is to say, with the oil of gladness. From all this we see that spiritual gladness belongs to those who are surrendered over to divine worship; Let your priests be clothed with joy etc. (Ps 131:9).

Fourthly, we use oil to soften, and this signifies mercy and kindness of heart, both of which blessed Nicholas possessed, since he was utterly filled with mercy and devotion. It is said in Deuteronomy (33:24): OLet him be pleasing to his brothers, and let him dip his foot in oil. Oil is diffusive of itself; mercy is the same way. Just as oil spreads over things, mercy spreads over every good work. Therefore, unless you have mercy, your labors are nothing; hence the Apostle says: Pity avails for everything (1 Tim 4:8). You ought to consider that in the future, according to the merits of graces the evidence of rewards will appear in the glorified bodies of the saints, and that even in this life the signs of their affection appear [in their earthly bodies]. This is evident in the case of blessed Francis, where the signs of the passion of Christ became visible, so vehemently was he affected by the passion of Christ. In blessed Nicholas’ case, signs of mercy appeared when “his tomb sweated oil,” thus indicating that he was a man of great mercy. In Deuteronomy (32:13) we find: So that he might suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the hardest stone. This pertains to a king.

[His effective execution of office]

Next comes the way in which he carried out his office, when it says: My hand shall help him (Ps 88:22) etc. God does not have a bodily hand, but His strength is called His hand. Now see the four ways by which the hand of God helped Nicholas: by drawing him to Himself and snatching him from evil; by guiding him; by strengthening him; and by working miracles through him.

First, I say: the hand of the Lord, that is to say His strength, helped blessed Nicholas by drawing hi to Himself and delivering him from evil. We read in the Psalms: Stretch forth your hand from on high, rescue me and deliver me from the many waters and from the hand of strange children (Ps 143:7).

Secondly, the hand of God helped blessed Nicholas by guiding him. Just as we normally use our hands to guide others, so the Lord uses His power to guide the just. Again the Psalmist says: The wickedness of sinners will be brought to and end, but the Lord will guide the just (Ps 7:10). Isaiah (8:11) speaks in a similar way: He has taught me by His strong hand, that I should not walk in the way of this people.

Thirdly, the hand of the Lord, that is to say His power, helped blessed Nicholas by giving him strength, hence in Ezekiel (3:14): And the hand of the Lord was with me to strengthen me. And he was greatly strengthened.

Fourthly, the hand of the Lord, that is to say his power, helped blessed Nicholas by working miracles through him, hence in Acts (4:30): You will stretch out your hand [to heal], and signs and wonders are performed in the name of your Son. Blessed Nicholas was filled with he power to work miracles. Who is there that has ever sought the glory of the world and obtained it as did blessed Nicholas, who was but a poor bishop in Greece? The Lord adorned him with miracles because he showed the greatest mercy. Know that the Lord has made his holy one wonderful (Ps 4:4). It was mercy that made blessed Nicholas an extraordinary man, and the Lord [Jesus Christ] strengthened him even unto everlasting life. May He lead us there, who leves [and reigns] with the Father and the Holy Spirit, [God, for ever and ever. Amen.]

Sermon "Beata gens"

beata gens, cujus est dominus deus ejus, populus quem elegit in haereditatem sibi. ps. xxxii, 12: multis modis sancta mater ecclesia studium suum adhibet ad hoc quod filios suos provocet ad desiderandum coelestia. et si recte inspicere vultis, videtur totum studium suum tendere ad hoc, quod, contemptis terrenis, transferat nos ad desiderandum coelestia; quod ex fundatore primo ecclesiae salvatore nostro patet, qui in praedicationis suae et doctrinae studio dixit matth. iii, 2: agite poenitentiam, ut nos removeret a mundanis; appropinquavit regnum coelorum: hoc dicit, ut nos alliciat ad desiderandum coelestia. "Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord: the people whom he hath chosen for his inheritance" (Psalm 32:12). In many ways, holy mother Church applies her effort to this end, that she advance her children to desire heavenly things. And if you wish to consider this properly, it would seem that the whole of her effort strives for this, which, having disdained earthly things, directs us to desire heavenly things; this is evident from the first founder of the Church, our Savior, who in His proclamation and in His zeal of instruction, says at Matthew 3:2, "Do penance" so that we might remove ourselves from earthly affairs; "for the kingdom of heaven is at hand": which he says to entice us to desire heavenly things.
inter alia provocativa coelestis desiderii recolit et infigit hodie cordibus nostris gloriam sanctorum in quam tendimus. si placet, in principio rogabimus deum, quod pro convenientia tantae celebritatis det mihi aliquid dignum dicere, quod sit ad ejus honorem et omnium sanctorum, et ad salutem animarum nostrarum. Among the different things provocative of a desire for heavenly things, he recalls and impresses upon our hearts today the glory of the saints for which we strive. If it is agreeable, we will ask God at the beginning (of this sermon) that He give me something worthy to say on behalf of the fitting nature of so great a celebration, that it be to His honor, of all the saints, and the salvation our our souls.
beata gens etc.. inditum est communiter animis hominum, ut delectabiliter audiant laudes patriae suae et parentum suorum. laudes patriae, ut ad eam redire festinent: laudes parentum, ut eos imitando non sint degeneres. "Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord." It is commonly laid upon men's souls that they hear with delight the praises of their homeland and of their parents. The praises of their homeland, that they may hasten to return to her; the praises of their parents, that they, by imitating them, may not become degenerate.
sed quae est patria nostra? patria ad quam tendimus est coelestis patria. unde apostolus heb. xiii, 14: non habemus hic manentem civitatem, sed futuram inquirimus. parentes nostri sunt spirituales viri, qui nos docuerunt, nos instruxerunt, exemplum recte bene vivendi nobis praebuerunt. isti sunt sancti in patria quorum solemnia hodie celebramus, et ideo ipsorum laudibus debemus cum jucunditate insistere. unde in ecclesiastico xliv, 1: laudemus viros gloriosos, et parentes nostros in generatione sua. But what is our homeland? That homeland for which we strive is a heavenly homeland. Wherefore, the Apostle state at Hebrews 13:14, "For we have not here a lasting city, but we seek one that is to come." Our parents are the spiritual people who have taught and instructed us, who have supplied us with an example of living rightly and well. These very people are saints in this (heavenly) homeland whose solemn rites we celebrate today. And for this reason we ought to persist in (our) praises of these very people with delight. Whence (it is said at) Ecclesiasticus 44:1, "Let us praise men of renown, and our fathers in their generation."
videte: spiritus sanctus per os david collegium istud sanctorum commendat quadrupliciter. primo ex eorum dignitate. secundo ex eorum rectore. tertio ex eorum dispositione. quarto ex ipsorum electione. ex eorum dignitate commendat collegium illud sanctorum, ibi; beata gens. ex eorum rectore, ibi: cujus dominus deus ejus. ex ipsorum dispositione nominat populum cum dicit: populus. ex eorum electione (cum) dicit: quem elegit dominus etc.. Consider (the text before us): the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of David, praises this very assembly of the saints in a four-fold way. First, by reason of their dignity, second, their uprightness, third, their condition, and fourth, their election. By reason of their dignity, he praises that assembly of the saints, at, "Blessed are the people," their uprightness, at, "whose God is the Lord," their condition, he calls the people by name when he says "the people," and their election, when he says "whom he hath chosen for his inheritance."
primo, dico, commendat david collegium istud sanctorum ex ipsorum dignitate, ibi: beata gens. dignitas collegii istius notatur quia pervenerunt illuc quo tendimus. item possident quodquod desideramus. item constituti sunt super illud quod intelligere possumus. (With respect to the) first, I say that David praises this very assembly of the saints because of their dignity, at, "Blessed are the people." The dignity of this very assembly is indicated because they have arrived at that place for which we strive. (This is also indicated because) they possess that which we desire. (Finally, this is indicated because) they have been established beyond that which we are able to understand.
primo, dico, attenditur dignitas sanctorum, quia pervenerunt illuc quo tendimus. beatitudo finis est omnium actionum nostrarum. unde apostolus ad romanos vi, 22: habetis fructum vestrum in sanctificatione, finem vero vitam aeternam. et videte; dicit augustinus libro de civitate dei: quis est finis desideriorum nostrorum, nisi pervenire ad regnum ubi nullus est finis? et videte; finis hominis tribus comparatur in sacra scriptura. primo comparatur coronae. unde apostolus ii tim. iv, 8: in de reliquo reposita est mihi corona justitiae. aliquando comparatur bravio. unde apostolus ad philippenses iii, 14: ad destinatum prosequor, ad bravium supernae coelestis vocationis. item aliquando comparatur mercedi. unde in evangelio matth. v, 12: gaudete et exultate, quoniam merces vestra copiosa est in coelis. nec immerito comparavit filius hominis istis tribus, quia omnis actio nostra ad tria reducitur. actio quorumdam est per certamina, quantum ad activos. unde job vii, 1: militia est vita hominis super terram; et qui legitime certaverint eis debetur corona, quia ii tim. ii, 5 non coronabitur nisi qui legitime certaverit. alii currunt, ut contemplativi; et isti nihil habent retardans ipsos, sed velociter currunt. de istis dicit ps. cxviii, 32: viam mandatorum cucurri. sed certantibus debetur bravium. apostolus i cor. ix, 24: omnes currunt, sed unus solus bravium accipit. alii sunt laborantes, ut praelati, qui exercent salutaria in plebe; et istis debetur merces. unde apostolus i cor. iii, 8; unusquisque propriam mercedem accipiet secundum laborem suum. (With respect to the) first (of these), I say that the dignity of the saints is attended to because they have arrived at that place for which we strive. Now, beatitude is the end of all of our actions. For this reason, the Apostle (says in his Letter) to the Romans 6:22, "You have your fruit unto sanctification, and the end life everlasting." And consider what St. Augustine says in his book The City of God: "What is the end of our desires, except to attain to that kingdom where there is no end?" Understand that in Sacred Scripture the end of man is likened to three things. First, it is compared to a crown. For this reason, the Apostle (says at) 2 Timothy 4:8, "As to the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice." Sometimes it is compared to a prize. Whence, the Apostle (says in his letter to the) Philipians 3:14, "I press towards the mark, to the prize of the supernal vocation." Lastly, it is sometimes compared to a reward. Whence (it is said) in the Gospel of Matthew 5:12, "Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven." Not undeservedly did the Son of Man refer himself to these three, because the whole of our activity is reduced to three things. The activity of some is after the manner of battles, so far as concerns their effects. Whence, (it is said at) Job 7:1, "The life of man upon earth is a warfare"; and a crown is due to those who have fought lawfully in these (battles), because (as it is said at) 2 Timothy 2:5, "For he also that striveth for the mastery, is not crowned, except he strive lawfully." (The activity of) others (is such that they) run, like those who contemplate; and these people have nothing slowing them down, but they run swiftly. (David) speaks of these people at Psalm 118:32, "I have run the way of thy commandments." But for those fighting, a prize is due. (Whence) the Apostle (says at) 1 Corinthians 9:24, "All run...but one receiveth the prize." Others are laborers, prelates for example, who perform beneficial works among the people; and to these (prelates) is due a reward. Whence, the Apostle (says at) 1 Corinthians 3:8, "Every man shall receive his own reward, according to his own labor."
sed quae est gloria sanctorum in patria? dico quod consecuti sunt coronam tamquam boni certatores. assecuti sunt bravium tamquam cursores, et consecuti sunt mercedem tamquam operarii boni. homines in mundo laborant habere coronas, sed illa corona est corruptibilis; corona sanctorum est incorruptibilis. unde apostolus i cor. ix, 25: illi quidem ut corruptibilem habeant coronam; nos vero incorruptibilem. est igitur dignitas sanctorum, quia pervenerunt illuc quo tendimus. But what is the heavenly splendor of the saints in (their) homeland? I say that they have obtained the crown, just as the good fighters (have). They have gained the prize, just as the runners (have), and they have obtained the reward, just as the good workers (have). Men labor in this world to have crowns, but that crown is perishable; (while) the crowns of the saints are imperishable. Whence, the Apostle (states at) 1 Corinthians 9:25, "...and they indeed that they may receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible one." This, therefore, is the dignity of the saints, because they have arrived at that place for which we strive.
item habent quidquid desideramus, et adhuc amplius. unde in proverbiis x, 24: desiderium suum justis dabitur. considera quid desiderare potes in voluptatibus et delectationibus, totum habent sancti. dico, in delectationibus spiritualibus, non in mundanis et foedis. ps. xv, 14: delectationes tuae in dextera tua. (The dignity of this very assembly is indicated,) furthermore, (as) they have everything we desire, and more abundantly besides. Whence (it is said) at Proverbs 10:24, "To the just their desire shall be given." Consider what you are able to desire among the enjoyments and delights (available to man): the saints have them all. (But note well that) I say, among spiritual delights, and not among the worldly and base (delights and enjoyments. Thus we have) Psalm 15:11, "At thy right hand are (your) delights."
si desideras divitias, sancti opulentissimi sunt. nihil deest timentibus dominum prov. i, 33: abundantia perfruentur. If you desire riches, the saints are exceedingly wealthy. Nothing is lacking to those who fear the Lord (as is stated at) Proverbs 1:33, "(But he that shall hear me, shall rest without terror, and) shall enjoy abundance, (without fear of evils)."
item, si desideras honores, sancti in maximo honore constituti sunt. ps. cxxxiii, 17: nimis honorificati honorati sunt amici tui, deus. si appetis scientiam, illam perfecte habent sancti, quia ipsi bibunt scientiam de ipso fonte sapientiae. sancti plenissime habent quidquid homo potest hic peccando, vel non peccando appetere. apparet igitur dignitas sanctorum, quia ipsi pervenerunt quo tendimus, et habent quidquid desiderare possumus. Likewise, if you desire honors, the saints have been established in the greatest honor. Psalm 138:17 (attests to this. It states) "Thy friends, O God, are made exceedingly honorable." If you thirst for knowledge, the saints have that perfectly, for these very people drink knowledge from the font of wisdom itself. The saints have most fully whatever man can desire here by sinning or not sinning. The dignity of the saints, therefore, is evident, for they themselves have arrived at that for which we strive, and have whatever we can desire.
item sunt in summo constituti ultra id quod intelligere possumus, quia ultra id quod potes intelligere est beatitudo beatorum. unde isaias lxiv, 4: oculus non vidit, deus, absque te quae praeparasti diligentibus te. (Finally, the dignity of this very assembly is indicated as) they have been established in the highest (way), beyond that which we can understand, because beyond that which you can understand is the beatitude of the blessed. Whence, Isaiah (states at) 64:4, "Eye hath not seen, O God, besides thee, what things thou hast prepared for them that wait for thee."
quae est ratio quod sancti sunt in summo constituti ultra id quod intelligere potes? certe quia sancti in patria quantum ad omnia habent impletum desiderium suum. et quomodo possunt omni bono impleri, nisi veniant ad fontem omnis boni? quando arbor est onusta fructibus, si venis ad unum ramum non potes accipere omnes fructus ejus. similiter si vadas ad alium ramum; sed qui radicem amputaret omnes fructus auferret arbori. similiter non potes perfrui omni bono, nisi venias ad fontem omnis boni: ille est ps. cii, 5, qui replet in bonis desiderium tuum. unde dixit dominus moysi exod. xxxiii, 39: ego ostendam tibi omne bonum, idest me ipsum, in quo est omne bonum; et quia deus magnus est super omnem intellectum, ideo sancti qui fruuntur deo in tantum sunt elevati, quod nullus attingere potest. unde isaias liii, 14: sustollam te super omnem altitudinem terrae, idest super omnem altum quod terrenus homo potest intelligere: ditabo, inquit, te altitudine patris tui; ps. cxlix est omnibus sanctis ejus. patet igitur dignitas et gloria sanctorum in patria, quia ipsi pervenerunt illuc quo tendimus, habent quidquid desiderare possumus, et sunt in alto constituti ultra id quod intelligere possumus. What is the meaning that the saints have been established in the highest (way), beyond that which you can understand? Surely that the saints in (their) homeland have their desire satisfied with respect to all things. And how can they be filled with every good thing, unless they come to the fount of all good? When a tree is loaded with fruit, if you come to (but) one of its branches, you will not be able to take all of its fruit. Likewise if you go to another branch. But he who cuts the tree at its base [or "But he who prunes the tree to its base"], he will carry off all its fruit. In like manner, you will not be able to enjoy fully every good, unless you come to the fount of every good: that is (referred to at) Psalm 102:5, "Who satisfieth thy desire with good things." Whence the Lord said to Moses (at) Exodus 33:19, "I will shew thee all good," that is, (I will show you) myself, in whom is every good; and since God is great and is above every intellect, for this reason the saints, who enjoy God so greatly, have been exalted (in the highest way), which no one can reach (in this present state). Whence Isaiah (states at) 58:14, "I will lift thee up above (all) the high places of the earth," that is, above every height which the earthbound man can understand: I will enrich you, he says, with the high places of your homeland; (as) Psalm 149 states "This glory) is for all of his saints." Therefore, the dignity and the heavenly splendor of the saints in (their) homeland is evident, because they themselves have arrived at that place for which we strive, that they have whatever we can desire, and that they have been established in the highest (way) beyond that which we can understand.
videamus de eorum rectore. tota dignitas sanctorum dependet ex ipso rectore. valde miserum est et abjectum et horrendum quod homo subdatur inferiori se, vel vili. unde comminatur dominus per prophetam dicens: tradam aegyptum in manus dominorum crudelium. qui dignum habet cui serviat, est beatus. unde in ecclesiastico xxv, 11: beatus qui non servivit indignis se. indigni sunt daemones; nos sumus filii dei. indignum est quod serviant filii inimico patris; beati qui deo serviunt. unde in libro iii regum x, 8: beati servi tui. justum est esse subditum deo. summa perfectio rei est quod sit subdita suo perfectori. materia non est perfecta nisi subdatur formae, et aer non est decorus nisi quando subjicitur soli, nec anima est perfecta nisi subdita sit deo. in hoc igitur consistit beatitudo nostra, quod simus subditi deo. Let us look at their uprightness. The entire dignity of the saints depends upon uprightness itself. Exceedingly unhappy, abject, and quaking with fear is that man who subjects himself to that which is inferior, or base. Whence, the Lord threatens through his prophet (Isaiah) saying (at 19:4), "I will deliver Egypt into the hand of cruel masters." He is happy who serves one who is worthy. Whence (it is said at) Ecclesiasticus 25:11, "Blessed is he that hath not served such as are unworthy of him." The unworthy are the demons; we ourselves are children of God. It is unworthy that the children (of God) serve the enemy of (their) Father; blessed are those who serve God. Whence (it is said) in the third book of Kings 10:8, "Blessed are thy servants." It is right to be subject to God. The highest perfection of a thing is that it be brought under its very own perfection. Matter is not perfected unless it is brought under form, air is not suitable until it is subjected to the sun, and the soul is not perfected unless it be brought under God. In this, therefore, consists our beatitude, that we be brought under God.
posses dicere: numquid subjecti sumus deo? verum est, sed mediate: scilicet mediantibus angelis, praelatis et pedagogis, qui nos custodiunt quomodo debemus ad beatitudinem pervenire; sed sancti in patria non sunt subjecti pedagogis. unde apostolus i ad cor. xv, 24: deinde finis; cum tradiderit christus regnum deo patri, et cum evacuaverit omnem principatum. dicit igitur: beata gens, cujus dominus deus ejus. But you might say: "We are to be brough under God?" (Indeed) it is true, but (this subjection occurs) through the mediacy of another, namely through the mediating angels, prelates and teachers, who watch over us in such a way that we should arrive at (our) beatitude; but the saints in (their) homeland are not subject to teachers. Whence the Apostle (says at) 1 Corinthians 15:24, "Afterwards the end, when Christ shall have delivered up the kingdom to God and the Father, when he shall have brought to nought all principality." Therefore, he says "Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord."
et videte quod fuerunt aliqui, et sunt qui dixerunt felicitatem et beatitudinem esse in terrenis, quorum opinio describitur in ps. cxlii, 13: promptuaria eorum plena, eructantia ex hoc in illud. oves eorum faetosae, et cetera quae ponit. sequitur: beatum dixerunt populum, cui haec sunt. ita dixerunt vulgares, et falsa est opinio ista, quia transeunt omnia sicut umbra. Consider what some (people) have come to. There are those who are said to be happy and blessed on earth. The view (of such people) is described at Psalm 143:13, "Their storehouses full, flowing out of this into that. Their sheep fruitful in young, abounding in their goings forth." (But, later in this same psalm at verse 15) it follows: "They have called the people happy, that hath these things." In such a way have the vulgar spoken, and this very view is false, because all things are passing away like a shadow.
item non replent, quia avarus non implebitur pecunia. invenias in terrenis quod maneat, quod desiderium impleat, et confiteor tibi quod ibi est beatitudo; sed non invenitur. false igitur aestimant beatitudinem esse in terrenis. ubi igitur est beatitudo? psalmista respondet et dicit ps. cxliii: deus ejus. Likewise, they do not satiate since a greedy person will not be satisfied by money. (Such a person says) "Get what lasts in this life, what fills (your) desire, and I confess to you that there is beatitude"; but it is not found (in such things). Therefore they falsely judge beatitude to be in earthly things. Where, then, is beatitude? The Psalmist responds and says in Psalm 32:12, ("Blessed is that people) whose God (is the Lord: the people whom he hath chosen for his inheritance").
item alii sunt vel fuerunt, ut stoici, qui beatitudinem et felicitatem dixerunt esse in interioribus bonis. habere virtutes et scientiam dixerunt summum bonum; quorum opinio reprobatur in jeremia ix, 23: non glorietur, inquit, sapiens in sapientia sua et non glorietur, nec fortis in fortitudine sua. quare? quia quidquid est intus te ipsum subditur naturae tuae, sed quod beatum te facit debet esse supra te, non tibi subjectum; propter hoc sequitur: sed in hoc glorietur, scire et nosse me. Furthermore, there are, or were some, like the Stoics, who said that beatitude and happiness consist in the interior goods. To have virtue and knowledge they called the highest good. The view of these people is condemned in Jeremiah 9:23, "Thus saith the Lord: Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, and let not the strong man glory in his strength." Why? Because whatever is within you is subject to your nature, but what makes you blessed ought to be above you, not subjected to you. Because of this, (the passage from Jeremiah) continues (at verse 24): "But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me."
sunt alii qui dicunt, quod beatitudo est in his quae sunt juxta nos. confidebant tales in homine, contra quos dicit ps. cxlv, 2: nolite confidere in principibus. non est etiam confidendum in angelis, quia aliqui dixerunt quod finis noster est videre angelos, sed constituitur intellectus noster ad visionem summae causae. anselmus: non enim videndo angelos beati sumus, sed videndo virtutem qua diligimus angelos. beata gens cujus est dominus deus ejus. et quomodo ejus? dico quod est deus ad cognoscendum, ad possidendum, et ad fruendum. There are others who say that beatitude consists in those who are close to us. Such people trust in man (for their beatitude), against whom Psalm 145:2 speaks, "Put not your trust in princes (in the children of men, in whom there is no salvation)." (Beatitude) is also not to be trusted to the angels, since some (people) have said that our end is to see the angels. But our intellect is made for the vision of the highest cause. (Concerning this point,) St. Anselm (says): "Not by seeing the angels are we made happy, but by seeing the power by which we love the angels." "Blessed are the people whose God is the Lord." And in what manner (is God to be theirs)? I say that God is to be known, possessed, and enjoyed.
primo, dico, est deus eorum ad cognoscendum. in hoc est perfecta beatitudo sanctorum in patria, quod cognoscant deum. unde augustinus, libro confessionum lib. iv, c. iv: infelix enim homo qui scit illa omnia, te autem nesciat; beatus qui te scit, etiam si illa nesciat. qui autem te et illa novit, non propter illa beatior, sed propter te solum beatus. beatitudo est quod cognoscamus deum, sive quod habeamus deum ad cognoscendum. sed numquid sancti in patria cognoscunt deum? certe sic. unde jeremias xxxi, 34: non docebit vir (ultra) fratrem suum, et vir proximum suum, dicens; cognosce dominum; omnes cognoscent me, a minimo eorum usque ad maximum. First, I say that their God is to be known. In this consists the perfect beatitude of the saints in (their) homeland, that they know God. Whence Augustine, in his book The Confessions, (at) IV.100.4 (states): "The unhappy man is one who knows other things, but does not know You; the happy or blessed man is one who knows You, even if he does not know other things. However, he who knows both You and other things, is happy not on account of (the knowledge of these) other things, but (rather) blessed because of (the knowledge of) you alone." Beatitude is that we know God, or that we have God to be known. But do the saints in (their) homeland know God? Certainly they do. Whence Jeremiah (states at) 31:34, "And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying: Know the Lord: for all shall know me from the least of them even to the greatest."
sed quomodo habent sancti deum ad cognoscendum? dico quod istam cognitionem duo concomitantur, clara et aperta visio, et perfecta ad deum assimilatio. But how do the saints have God to be known? I say that two things accompany this knowing, (namely) clear and free vision, and a perfect assimilation to God.
primo, dico, istam cognitionem concomitantur clara et aperta visio. videmus enim modo a remotis deum per similitudinem creaturarum et in enigmatibus. unde job xxxvi, 25: omnes homines vident eum, unusquisque intuetur eum procul. apostolus ad rom. i, 20: invisibilia dei per ea quae facta sunt, intellecta, conspiciuntur; sed in patria sancti vident deum clare, non in speculo et enigmate. First, I say, that this clear and free vision accompanies this knowing. For we see God in one way from afar through a likeness of creatures and in obscure ways. Whence (it is said at ) Job 36:25, "All men see him, every one beholdeth afar off." The Apostle (says at) Romans 1:20, "For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made;" but in (their) homeland, the saints see God clearly, and not "through a glass in a dark manner" (I Corinthians 13:12).
ad hoc autem quod clare videamus deum oportet quod habeamus oculos puros. si oculi habent caliginem, vel si fuerint turbati, non sufficiunt ad videndum claritatem mente tua est ignis concupiscentiae, ignis irae, vel ignis malorum desideriorum impediris a visione dei ps. lxvii, 9: supercecidit ignis, scilicet concupiscentiae, et non viderunt solem, idest deum. igitur istam cognitionem concomitatur clara et aperta visio. In order that we might see God clearly, it is necessary that we have clear eyes. If (your) eyes are cloudy or obscured, or if they have been disturbed, they are not sufficient to see in your mind the clarity (of God), (for) you are impeded from the sight of God by the fires of concupiscence, anger and evil desires. Psalm 57:9 (attests to this. It states that) "Fire" that is, of concupiscence, "hath fallen on them, and they shall not see the sun," that is, God. Therefore, clear and free vision accompanies this very knowing.
item concomitatur eam perfecta ad deum assimilatio; quia cognitio non fit nisi per assimilationem cognoscentis ad cognitum, ut vult philosophus; sed sancti perfectam habent assimilationem ad deum. unde in joanne i joan. iii, 2: cum apparuerit, similes ei erimus, et videbimus eum sicuti est. si vis pervenire ad assimilationem dei in patria, debes studere assimilari ei in bonis operibus hic. christus venit pacem mittere in terra. eph. ii, 14: ipse est pax nostra qui fecit utraque unum. non semines igitur jurgia: sed ad pacem reducas discordias, si vis christo hic assimilari. unde in evangelio matth. v, 9: beati pacifici, quoniam filii dei vocabuntur. filius habet perfectam assimilationem cum patre. habebimus igitur in patria deum ad cognoscendum et ad videndum. unde augustinus in psalm. cxviii: finis omnium actionum nostrarum promittitur ista contemplatio. scribitur deut. x, 9 quod filii levi non habuerunt partem inter fratres, quia dominus possessio eorum. sancti habent deum in possessione, et sufficit eis. ps. xv, 6, 5: funes ceciderunt mihi in praeclaris; etenim haereditas mea praeclara est mihi. dominus pars haereditatis meae, et calicis mei, etc. Likewise, a perfect assimilation to God accompanies (this knowing), since knowledge comes about only through an assimilation of the knower to the thing known, as the Philosopher meant; but the saints have a perfect assimilation to God. Whence in the first letter of John 3:2 (it says), "When he shall appear, we shall be like to him: because we shall see him as he is." If you want to attain to the assimiliation to God in (your heavenly) homeland, then you ought to be eager to be assimilated to Him through good works here (in this earthly condition). Christ comes to send peace into this world. Ephesians 2:14, "For he is our peace, who hath made both one." Therefore, do not sow (the seeds of) strife, but resolve discord into peace, if you want to be assimilation or likened here to Christ. Whence in the Gospel of Matthew 5:9 (it is said), "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." The son has a perfect likeness to (his) father. We, therefore, will have in (this) homeland God to be known and understood. Whence Augustine (says in his Commentary) on Psalm 118: "This very contemplation is promised (to us) as the end of all of our actions." It is written (in) Deuteronomy 10:9 that the sons of Levi did not have any part (or possession) among (their) brethren: because the Lord was their possession. The saints have God in (their) possession, and (this) satisfies them. Psalm 15:6, 5, "The lines are fallen unto me in goodly places: for my inheritance is goodly to me. The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and of my cup."
sed quomodo possident sancti deum? dico quod sunt beati possidendo deum, quia joan. iv, 16: beatus qui timuerit eum. et qualiter perveniunt ad ejus possessionem? dico per dilectionem. unde in joanne joan. iv, 16: qui manet in caritate, in deo manet, et deus in eo. et in tobia xiii, 18: beati omnes qui diligunt te. But in what manner do the saints possess God? I say they are blessed by possessing God, because (as it is said at Psalm 33:9-10 or Psalm 111:1) "Blessed is he who fears him." And in what way do they attain to his possession? I say through love. Whence (it is said in) the first letter of John 4:16, "He that adibeth in charity, abideth in God, and God in him." And in Tobias 13:18, "Blessed are all they that love thee."
sed quid possides possidendo deum? dico quod possidendo deum possides quod in deo est. et quid est in deo? gloria et divitiae. ps. cxi, 3: gloria et divitiae in domo ejus. sancti in patria habent gloriam et honorem. omnes sunt reges apoc. v, 10: fecisti nos reges deo nostro regnum. ista gloria promittitur humilibus, quia job xxii, 29: qui humiliatus fuerit, erit in gloria. et in evangelio matth. v, 3: beati pauperes, (spiritu) quoniam ipsorum est regnum coelorum. item sancti habent infinitas divitias, quia habent quidquid homo desiderare potest. But what do you possess by possessing God? I say that by possessing God you possess what is in God. And what is in God? Glory and wealth. Psalm 111:3 (states), "Glory and wealth shall be in his house." The saints in (their) homeland have glory and honor. They are all kings (as says) Revelation 5:10, "Thou hast made us to our God a kingdom (and priests, and we shall reign on the earth)." This very glory is promised to the humble, because (as it is said in) Job 22:29, "He that hath been humbled, shall be in glory." And in the Gospel of Matthew 5:3, "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Furthermore, the saints have infinite wealth, since they have whatever a man can desire.
sed quibus datur ista possessio. numquid litigantibus? certe non. in mundo acquirit homo quandoque terrena litigando, et per fraudem. sed coelestes divitiae acquiruntur per mansuetudinem. unde in canonica jacobi i, 2: in mansuetudine suscipite insitum verbum. et in evangelio matth. v, 4: beati mites, quoniam ipsi possidebunt terram. habent igitur sancti deum ad cognoscendum et possidendum. But to whom is this possession given? To the quarrelsome? Certainly not. In this earthly existence, man acquires whatever earthly riches (he wants) by quarrelling, and through fraud. But heavenly riches are acquired through meekness. Whence in James 1:21 (it is said), "In meekness receive the ingrafted word." And in the Gospel of Matthew 5:4, "Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land." Therefore, the saints have God to be known and to be possessed.
tertio, sancti in patria habent deum ad fruendum et delectandum. job xxii, 26: super omnipotentem deliciis afflues: sancti in patria non delectantur in re temporali, sed in deo fonte totius boni. unde dominus luc. xxii, 30: ut edatis et bibatis super mensam meam in regno meo. quid est edere super mensam dei? hoc est delectari et refici in quo deus reficitur. et quid est hoc in quo deus reficitur? hoc est ejus bonitas. quando reficeris de bonitate dei, tunc edis in mensa dei, et hoc est beatitudo sanctorum. unde dicitur luc. xiv, 15: beatus qui manducabit panem in regno sanctorum. Third, the saints in (their) homeland have God to be enjoyed and delighted in. Job 22:26 (states), "(Then) shalt thou abound in delights in the Almighty." The saints in (their) homeland do not delight in temporal things, but in God, the fount of all good. Whence the Lord (states at) Luke 22:30, "That you might eat and drink at my table, in my kingdom." What is it to eat at the table of God? This is to be delighted and renewed in that which God is renewed. And what is this in which God is renewed? This is his goodness. When you are renewed by the goodness of God, then you will eat at the table of God, and this is the beatitude of the saints. Whence it is said at Luke 14:15, "Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of the saints."
et videte: delectatio ista tres proprietates habet: quia gaudium istud est consolatorium. per illud gaudium homo amisit omnes tristitias. unde isaias lxv, 16: oblivioni traditae sunt angustiae, priores non sunt in memoria nec ascendent super cor, quia videbitis et exultabitis in his quae feci. augustinus dicit libro xxii, de civitate dei c. xxx, quod aliter obliviscitur doloris eruditus et doctus, et aliter expertus et passus. eruditus et doctus obliviscitur doloris quando negligit. expertus et passus quando transfertur ad gaudium. et sancti propter gaudium obliviscuntur omnium dolorum. est igitur gaudium illud consolatorium. Consider (that) this delight has three characteristic features: (first,) that joy is of those things that console. Through that joy, man loses all sadness. Whence (it is said in) Isaiah 65:16, 17-18 "The former distresses are forgotten...the former things shall not be in remembrance, and they shall not come upon the heart. But you shall be glad and rejoice forever in these things, which I create." Augustine says in Book 22, Chapter 30 of The City of God, that "A well-instructed and learned man forgets pain one way, and he who has actually suffered from it forgets it in another; the former by neglecting what he has learned, the latter (by escaping what he has suffered)" when he is brought to joy. And the saints, because of (their) joy, forget every pain. Therefore joy itself is of those things that console.
item est plenum. quare est plenum? quia est de creatore, et de creaturis omnibus nihil occurret menti tuae quod te non faciet gaudere. ingredietur ad contemplationem divinitatis, et egredietur ad contemplationem creaturarum, et ubique refectionem inveniet in deo et creaturis. est igitur gaudium plenum. unde in joanne xvi, 24: petite ut gaudium vestrum sit plenum. augustinus: ad istam satietatem nemo pervenire potest nisi esuriendo justitiam. unde in evangelio matth. v, 6: beati qui esuriunt et sitiunt justitiam quoniam ipsi saturabuntur. Secondly, (this joy) is full. Why is it full? Because it is of the Creator, and of all creatures, (for) nothing occurs to your mind that does not make you to rejoice. One enters into the contemplation of the deity, and goes forth (from this) to the contemplation of creatures, and finds refreshment everywhere in God and creatures. This joy, therefore, is full. Whence (it is said) in John 16:24, "Ask...that your joy may be full." (Again) Augustine (says), "No one can attain to this sufficiency except by hungering for justice." Whence (it is said) in the Gospel of Matthew 5:6, "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill."
item est illud gaudium purum non permixtum moerori et anxietatibus, sicut gaudium saeculi, de quo dicitur prov. xix, 13: risus dolore miscebitur. isaias xxxv, 10: gaudium et laetitiam obtinebunt, et fugiet ab eis dolor et gemitus. et in proverb. i, 33: abundantia perfruetur, timore malorum sublato. illud gaudium habebunt misericordes, quia matth. v, 7: beati misericordes, quia ipsi misericordiam consequuntur. augustinus: ipse est finis noster, quem sine fine videbimus, sine fastidio amabimus, et sine fatigatione laudabimus; sed quid erit in illo fine? sine fine vacabimus, vacando videbimus, videndo amabimus, amando laudabimus. beatus qui erit in illo fine, quia ps. xxxv, 5: beati qui habitant in domo tua, domine. ad illam beatitudinem perducat nos qui cum patre et filio et spiritu sancto vivit et regnat etc. Lastly, that joy is pure and not mixed with mourning and distresses, as is the joy of this age, concerning which it is said at Proverbs 14:13, "Laughter shall be mingled with sorrow," (at) Isaiah 35:10, "They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and mourning shall flee away," and at Proverbs 1:33, "He shall enjoy abundance, without fear of evils." The merciful will have that joy, because (as it is said in) Matthew 5:7, "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy." And Augustine (states that) "He Himself is our end, whom we will see without end, will love without weariness, and will praise without fatigue; but what will occur in that end? Without end, we will be free (of all earthly cares), we will see by being free, we will love by seeing, and we will praise by loving." Blessed is he who will be in that end, because (as) Psalm 83:5 (states), "Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, O Lord." Let (my sermon) guide us to that beatitude which lives and reigns with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.
beata gens, cujus est dominus etc.. circa illud gloriosum collegium sanctorum, cujus festum hodie celebramus, dictum fuit de sanctorum dignitate et de ipsorum rectore. "Blessed is the people whose God is the Lord." Concerning that glorious assembly of the saints, whose feast we celebrate today, we have spoken of the dignity of the saints, and of their rightness.
propter temporis brevitatem dicendum est aliquid de ejus dispositione, quae designatur nomine populi. quid est populus? augustinus introducit diffinitionem populi talem de civitate dei, lib. xix, c. xxxi: populus est coetus multitudinis juris consensu utilitatis communione sociatus. On account of the shortness of time (remaining to us), something needs to be said of their condition, which is designated by the name "people." What is meant by "people"? Augustine introduces a definition of this kind of people (in his work) The City of God, Book 19, Chapter 31: "The people are an assembly of the multitude united together by the consensus of law in the association of utility."
et videte, secundum hoc, in nomine populi tria accipi possunt. numerosa multitudo, ordinata distinctio, et concors unio. According to this, consider that three things can be understood by the name "people," (namely) a numerous multitude, an ordered distinction, and a harmonious unity.
primo, dico, ad populum requiritur numerosa multitudo, quia unus vel duo non faciunt populum. ista gens habet ne multitudinem? certe sic. unde in epistola hodierna: vidi turbam magnam quam nemo dinumerare poterat. hoc pertinet ad dignitatem regis, et maxime istius regis, quod habeat magnum populum. unde in prove. v: in multitudine populi dignitas regis. et boetius dicit, quod rex gloriatur de civium multitudine. terra nihil est in comparatione ad coelum. dionysius dicit coelest. hierarch. c. xiv: quod multitudo materialium nihil est respectu spiritualium. et de domino dicitur: millia millium ministrabant ei: et decies millies centena millia assistebant ei, et postea, multitudo omnium sanctorum. in libro primo regum: israel juda innumerabiles quasi arena maris comedentes et bibentes et laudantes. solus deus scit multitudinem sanctorum, ps. cxlvi, 4: qui numerat multitudinem stellarum. multitudo igitur populi pertinet ad dignitatem regis. First, I say, that a numerous multitude is required for a people, because one or two do not make a people. Do these people not constitute a multitude? Indeed they do. Whence, in today's epistle (Revelation 7:9, it says) "I saw a great multitude which no man could number." This belongs to the dignity of a king, and most especially of that king who has a great people. Whence, (it is said) at Proverbs 14:28, "In the multitude of people is the dignity of the king." And Boethius says that "A king is glorified on account of the multitude of (his) citizens." The earth is nothing in comparison to the heavens. Dionysius says in his book Concerning the Heavenly Hierarchy, Chapter 14, that "A multitude of material things is nothing in relation to (a multitude) of spiritual things." And of the Lord it is said that a million used to minister to him; and one billion used to assist him, and thereafter, the multitude of all the saints. In the third book of Kings (4:20 it is said), "Juda and Israel were innumerable, as the sand of the sea in multitude: eating and drinking, and rejoicing." Only God knows the multitude of the saints, (as) Psalm 146:4 (states), "Who telleth the number of the stars." The multitude, therefore, of the people refers to the dignity of the king.
item, pertinet ad jucunditatem. homo est corruptibilis naturae. multitudo populi pertinet ad magnitudinem gaudii. unde isaias xxii, 2: urbs frequens, civitas exultans. Likewise, it refers to enjoyment. Man is of a corruptible nature. The multitude of people refers to the greatness of joy. Whence (it is said at) Isaiah 22:2, "Full of clamor...a joyous city."
item, multitudo numerosa pertinet ad securitatem nostram. multi sunt sancti nobiscum. unde in libro judicum v, 20: stellae manentes in cursu suo et ordine, contra sisaram pugnaverunt, idest contra diabolum. et helisaeus dixit puero suo iv reg. vi, 16: noli timere; multo enim plures nobiscum sunt, quam cum illis. multitudo igitur sanctorum in patria est sanctis ad gaudium, deo ad honorem, et nobis ad securitatem. Likewise, a numerous multitude refers to our safety. There are many saints with us. Whence in the book of Judges 5:20 (it states), "The stars remaining in their order and courses fought against Sisara," that is, against the devil. And Helisaeus said to his son at 4 Kings 6:16, "Fear not: for there are more with us than with them." Therefore, the multitude of the saints in (their) homeland is (referred) to the saints according to (their) joy, to God with respect to (His) honor, and to us according to (our) safety.
dicendum de electione sanctorum. traditur distinctio sanctorum ex cognitione in epistola: sed ista diversitas est in mundo, non in coelo. unde apostolus ad coloss. iii, 11, ibi non est barbarus neque scyta, judaeus et gentilis. et beatus petrus: act. x, 35: in omni gente qui timet deum, et operatur justitiam, acceptus est illi. (Lastly,) we must speak of the election of the saints. The distinction of the saints according to (our) knowledge is treated of in the epistle (of today's readings). But this diversity is in the world, not in heaven. Whence, the Apostle (states at) Colossians 3:11, "Where there is neither Gentile nor Jew...Barbarian nor Scythian." And (there is also what) Saint Peter (says at) Acts 10:35, "But in every nation, he that feareth God, and worketh justice, is acceptable to him."
in evangelio ergo dicitur nobis differentia sanctorum, quae erit in patria in populo glorioso. traduntur nobis aliqui reges. verum est quod omnes sancti regnant cum deo, sed specialiter regnant apostoli. unde in luca xxii, 29: ego dispono vobis regnum, sicut disposuit mihi pater, et sicut fuerunt rectores ecclesiae, ita in patria habent regiam dignitatem. Therefore, in the Gospel a difference among the saints is declared to us, which difference will be in the homeland among the glorified people. Some kings are given over to us. The truth is that all the saints rule with God, but the Apostles rule particularly. Whence (it is said) in Luke 22:29, "And I dispose to you, as my Father hath disposed to me, a kingdom" and just as they have been leaders of the Church, so too in the homeland do they have a kingly dignity.
et quomodo acquisiverunt ipsi regnum? certe paupertate. alii acquirunt regnum divitiis. audiamus petrum, qui dicit de acquisitione regni: matth. xix, 27: ecce, inquit, nos reliquimus omnia. et dominus dicit: matth. v, 3: beati pauperes spiritu; quoniam ipsorum est regnum coelorum. And how did they obtain this rule? Surely through poverty. Some (however) acquire a kingdom through their wealth. Let us listen to Peter who speaks of the acquisition of the kingdom (at) Matthew 19:27, "Behold, he said, we have left all things." And the Lord said (at) Matthew 5:3, "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
sunt novi argumentatores qui nesciunt quid dicunt. ipsi dicunt, quod virtus consistit in medio, et ita omnia renuntiare et virginitas non sunt de genere virtutum, quia non sunt in medio. There are new scholars who deny what (Peter and Our Lord) say. They say that virtue consists in a mean. Thus to renounce all things (including) virginity does not belong to virtue's description, because (this renunciation does) not consist in a mean (between two extremes).
dicit philosophus: inexperti ad pauca respicientes facile enuntiant. non oportet quod in medio secundum quantitatem, sed secundum rectam rationem. dicit philosophus in quarto ethicorum, quod magnanimus magnitudine est in extremis, sed eo quod ut oportet est medius, quia est magnanimus, ubi debet secundum quod debet, et propter quod debet. philosophi omnia sua deposuerunt, ut possent vacare philosophiae et continenter vixerunt. si hoc fuit apud gentiles, bene debet esse in christianis. sed si vir vellet continere quando mulier petit debitum, hoc esset vitiosum; sed in virginitate est summa virtus. igitur apostoli acquisiverunt regnum paupertate. invenimus victores martyres qui heb. xi, 33: per fidem vicerunt regna, et isti sunt beati mites, quia non murmur resonat, non quaerimonia. de ipsis dicitur in evangelio: matth. v, 4: beati mites; quoniam ipsi possidebunt terram. (In response to this, we should note that) the Philosopher says, "The inexperienced easily declare (after) considering too little." Now, it is not necessary (for virtue to consist) in a mean according to quantity, but (rather) according to right reason. The Philosopher says in the fourth book of the Nichomachean Ethics, (IV. 3. 1123b13-14) that "The magnanimous man holds an extreme in extension but a mean in appropriateness, for he thinks himself deserving in accord with his worth." Philosophers have given up all their possessions and have lived moderately so that they might devote themselves to philosophy. If this occurred among the Gentiles, it ought well to occur among Christians. But if a man desires to be temperate when (his) wife asks what is owed (to her), this would be vicious; but in virginity is the greatest virtue. Therefore, the Apostles have acquired the kingdom by poverty. We find the victorious martyrs who "by faith conquered kingdoms," (Hebrews 11:33), and these blessed people are meek, because neither murmuring nor complaints resound (from them). Concerning these people, it is said in the Gospel of Matthew 5:4, "Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land."
item invenimus quosdam in solatio viventes, ut sunt sancti confessores qui lugebant in mundo et magnam poenitentiam egerant. vidistis antonium et benedictum, qui in fletu et magna et austera poenitentia vixerunt, et modo sunt in gaudio et consolatione. unde in evangelio matth. v, 5 ipsi consolabuntur. Furthermore, we find some of these living in solitude. For example, there are the holy confessors who used to mourn while in the world and carried out great penance. You have seen Anthony and Benedict who lived in tears and great and strict penance. In this way they are (now) in joy and consolation. Whence (it is said) in the Gospel of Matthew 5:5, "They shall be comforted."
item, invenimus in coelo judices justissimos, scilicet prophetas qui justitiam praedicaverunt; et isti fuerunt esurientes justitiam, et ideo modo saturantur. unde in evangelio matth. v, 6: beati qui esuriunt et sitiunt justitiam; quoniam ipsi saturabuntur. Furthermore, we find in heaven the most just of judges, namely the prophets who proclaimed justice. These people were hungering for justice. So, in this way they have been filled. Whence (it is said) in the Gospel of Matthew 5:6, "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill."
item, in patria invenimus coetum patriarcharum, qui insistebant operibus misericordiarum, et istis servatur adhuc in coelo dignitas recipiendi alios. unde abraham, qui omnes in hospitio suo recipiebat, etiam angelos, gen. xviii, 3, habet dignitatem in coelo quod omnes in sinu abrahae recipiuntur, et ideo dicitur: heb. xiii, 2 hospitalitatem nolite oblivisci. abraham omnes electos in sinu suo recipit. unde dicitur: matth. viii, 11 venient ab oriente (et occidente), et recumbent in sinu abraham et isaac et jacob. de istis dicitur in ecclesiastico: xliv, 10 isti sunt viri misericordiae, quorum pietates non defuerunt. Furthermore, in (our) homeland we find the assembly of the patriarchs, who used to insist upon works of mercy, and in these the dignity of receiving others is still observed in heaven. Whence Abraham, who used to receive everyone into his hospitality, even the angels, (as is recounted in) Genesis 18:3, has the dignity of receiving everyone into his bosom in heaven: Hebrews 13:2, "And hospitality do not forget." Abraham received into his own bosom all the elect. Whence it is said in Matthew 8:11, "Many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down (in the bosom of) Abraham, and with Isaac, and Jacob." Concerning these it is spoken in Ecclesiasticus 44:10, "But these were men of mercy, whose goodly deeds have not failed."
item, in patria invenimus coetum virginum, quae munditiam servaverunt. haec est casta generatio. de istis dicitur in evangelio: matth. v, 8 beati mundo corde; quoniam ipsi deum videbunt. item, invenimus in patria chorum angelorum qui intendunt paci; de quibus in evangelio: matth. v, 9 beati pacifici; quoniam filii dei vocabuntur. patet modo quomodo pauperes acquisiverunt regnum, mites terram, lugentes consolationem, esurientes justitiam adepti sunt satietatem, misericordes consecuti sunt misericordiam, mundi visionem dei, et pacifici vocantur filii dei. ad illud consortium nos perducat qui cum patre etc. Furthermore, in (our) homeland we find the assembly of the virgins who have observed purity. This is the spotless offspring. Concerning these it is said in the Gospel of Matthew 5:8, "Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God." Likewise, we find in (our) homeland the choir of angels who aspire after peace; of these (it is written) in the Gospel of Matthew 5:9, "Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." In this way, (then,) it is clear how the poor acquire the kingdom, the meek the land, the mourning comfort, those hungering for justice their fill, the merciful mercy, the clean of heart the vision of God, and the peacemakers are called the children of God. Let (my sermon) guide us to that fellowship which is with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.

The Aquinas Translation Project